We will visit a family from Sudan. The mother of this family has a terribly harrowing tale of her journey to the USA. Please be aware that it is hard to hear, but she wanted us to know what she endured to find peace.
When she was 5 years old, our client lived in a tiny village in Sudan. One day, her village was set on fire. Everyone had to flee. Our client was asleep at the time, and her mother was unable to gather all her children; she left our client behind. Our client survived when she was found by another family and fled with them. They all ran to Libya where this new family eventually adopted our client. She grew up there with them.
Libya is not a safe place for refugees; there was a tremendous amount of violence. When she was 24 years old, our client witnessed the murder of her adoptive parents, and she was assaulted. The pain of this is still with her today.
She was found by The Red Cross and transferred to a refugee camp. Her story circulated the camp and a man in camp came to meet her and asked her to marry him. They married and applied for asylum. While waiting for asylum, they had a set of twin boys and another little boy a year later.
Our client spoke of being so afraid for her children that, for 2 years, they never left their house. Her children never slept on beds. They had no toys. She cried as she recounted life in camp waiting for asylum.
Almost exactly 4 years ago, our client and her family arrived in Phoenix. Her husband is working and their older 3 children are in school; another little boy was born shortly after they arrived in the USA.
Our client was able to find her birth family; they are still in Sudan She is hoping to help them get to Egypt so she can visit them; she has already secured a passport for herself for this visit. When we asked if she liked being in Phoenix, our client responded, “ I am so grateful. I never thought we would have all this. I never thought we would be safe.”
We will also visit a family from Aleppo, Syria. The mother and father fled the civil war in 2013 with their 4 boys (now ages 15-11). They were in Turkey for 3 years before being granted asylum here. In that time, a 5th boy was born (now 3).
The family is getting used to life in the USA, despite not liking it at first. The older boys are doing well in school and the youngest will begin Headstart in the Fall. Everyone speaks English. The mother has made friends and started her own little business as a part of the Syrian Sweets program. The father works at the airport.
The families of both the mother and father remain in Turkey and they miss them. The mother said they speak to them every day. The mother was excited to share with us pictures of her family and one of her English teacher here in Phoenix. She expressed her sincere gratitude to WTAP for coming to visit and supporting their family.